26 answers

Son Stares off into Space

My son who is almost 16 months, sometimes will stare off into space. He will be playing and then he just stops and stares off. We were thinking that it might have to do with his low iron, but we are not sure. Anyone else have this problem with their toddler/child?

This is our first child so we don't know if this is normal.

I figured I better update this with more info since most of you raised some good points- he does have low iron, but he is being treated for it. He has already seen a neurologist when he was around 9 months old because I thought he had a seizure (shaking and out of it) but they found nothing. He does have a heart murmur but it doesn't cause any problems for him and he might outgrow it (it would close up) by the time he is two. There have been times when he hasn't snapped out of it right away, and times when he does. He does it sometimes when we are out walking in a large field behind our house, so I've thought that because it is so big and there is so much to look at that sometimes he gets overwhelmed. He does seem to do it more when he is getting tired. He had met or exceeded all his developmental milestones, but I still worry that it could be something serious. We have not vaccinated him and we probably won't until he is talking more (Autism scare).

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We scheduled an appointment with our Pediatrician/ family doctor for Thursday, May 1st. He should have an idea of what is going on, if not I am sure he will refer us to the proper specialist. I don't notice it happening all the time, but when he does it it is scary. Hopefully things will go well, and I will try to post the outcome of this appointment.

Thanks to everyone for their great responses!

Featured Answers

Gosh, the first thing I thought of when you said that he would be playing and then be staring into space, was my son. Unfortunately he does have mild autism and at that age was when my grandma who watched him would tell me he would do that and she was concerned. I didn't think to much of it at the time. He wasn't diagnosed till age 3 b/c he had met all his milestones up till that point but that is when he started regressing. He used to say some things now he doesn't speak real words at all... He is vocal but its his own "words"
Then again, maybe its nothing. I remember back in school I would "zone out" sometimes and be thinking and would be in my own world... My teacher would be calling me name and I would be completely oblivious to the whole thing..And I got straight A's... I think sometimes my brain was on overload and needed a break

My 3 year old does this. He has not developmental issues. I ask him what he's doing and he says, "I was just thinking about...."
He does have a VERY vivid imagination!

More Answers

He could just be intrigued with the sights and sounds around him but it could also be seizures. My daughter had the same kind of seizures when she was an infant and continues to have them now at the age of 12. She had an EEG to diagnose the seizures. A simple painless procedure but it did make her very angry. I would suggest mentioning it to your pediatrician. We were told they are harmless and she did not need any medication. She is now a very bright child. She is a 4.0 student in the gifted classes at school. She does have problems remembering directions sometimes and will say she doesnt know what the teacher said even though she was sitting right there when the instructions were given and that could easily be from having a seizure at the time.

My 3 year old does this. He has not developmental issues. I ask him what he's doing and he says, "I was just thinking about...."
He does have a VERY vivid imagination!

C.,
As a mom who has spent countless hours in Cinci Children's at the Neurologist's office, it sounds as if son could have absent seizures. If he responds to you or "snaps" out of it when his name is called, fingers are snapped, etc. it's probably just "daydreaming". If he won't respond while doing some of those things and just continues to stare, you may want to mention it to his doctor to be on the safe side. Just thought I'd put my thoughts out there. Good luck - would love to know how it goes, H.

Hi C.,
Get your son checked out for Epilepsy. All my aunts and uncles had this problem since they were toddlers, and it can progress to become more violent. SPD (Sensory Processing Disfunction) Its like tunnel vision, and would usually be affected by something that would grab his attention, like a television or a flashing light. Also could affect you if your a deep sleeper, you won't recognize the noise around you. Most kids do grow out of this as long as they keep their brain busy. I'm just hoping its nothing serious. I'll keep you and your son in my prayers. (SMILE)

I would definitely let your doctor know. You should probably see a neurologist and have an EEG done. Sounds like a seizure. Better to be safe than sorry. Hope everything turns out ok.

I would have him evaluated by Help Me Grow. Sometimes the doctors are not seeing what someone coming in your home to do an evaluation would see. Help Me Grow is at Eastgate school. It is a free evaluation~so what do you have to lose? Good for you for going with your gut feeling. Their ####-###-####. Good Luck.

When my niece did that she was having petit mal seizures. I would definately have him checked by the doctor.

hello not to scare you but this could be staring seizures. my daughter has them. i would talk to your dr about this and see what they think.

Oh Dear!! Yes my 10 month old does this every now and then. The worst was about 2 weeks ago. I was driving on the turnpike and he started off only I was screaming his name and nothing. I banged a toy off the dashboard and nothing. I was in histerics crying!!! I thought maybe he was having a seizure or something. I pulled over and opened his door and he snapped out of it. My son's pediatrician just says that they get "hypnotized" by the sound of the road. For example, taking a baby for a car ride to fall asleep. Same principle. Good luck!!!

You might check into getting an EEG to see if he is having absence seizures. My daughter had the same symptoms. (She would also walk like she was a little drunk and slur her speech.) When she got older, she had some memory gaps.

Hi C., Have you had him checked. Does he blink his eyes while he is staring off. If not, it could be some sort of siezure. God Bless! N. L.

I don't want to dismiss the seizure or get you in a different direction if that is what is happening, but I wanted to let you know that my daughter was doing this and it was found that she had sensory processing disorder (SPD) her brain would get overloaded and it would just take these little time outs. I think the one mom gave good advice on telling the difference...if you can get them to snap out of it then it could be daydreaming or SPD and if you can not it could be the seizures. Most primary care physicians are not up to date on SPD so maybe you could research some articles and take them with you when you talk to the doctor. At either rate, I wish you and your child the very best of luck.

It could be Autism or Epilepsy. But that is not for sure. They are too young to detect this for sure now. Except for maybe the Epilepsy. They can do scans and EEGs. Good Luck. Perhaps it is nothing. But me myself I would want to know. Good Luck and God Bless

I'm not sure that he's experiencing the same thing, but I used to do the same thing quite often as a youth. My family and teachers would tease me and call me spacey S.. I found out as an adult that I have low blood pressure. It causes me to lose focus and I daze out. At those times I experience temporary blindness and other times dizziness. It's due to a heart valve prolapse, which is a fancy way of staying my heart valve sometimes stays open too long allowing the blood pressure to drop. There are medicines doctors said they can try, but I just stick to eating a great deal of sodium... about 5 grams a day. Most adults consume about 2 grams a day.

Perhaps he has low blood pressure. Have the doctor listen to his heart and perhaps have him put on an overnight EKG machine, which will track how his heart pumps. Before I had this test the doctors never heard the heart arythmia.

Sometimes children also think faster than they can process information, so they daze out. Most kids grow out of the phase. They kind of get lost in thought.

-S.

I don't know many details about this but my son has a friend who did this and they found out he was having seizures. That's all I know but it might be something to check out.

I don't want to scare you either, but I would talk to your pediatrician and ask for a recommendation to a neurologist.
I have known three children who did this same type of thing and they were all having very tiny, quick seizures. All 3 were treated and while I lost touch with one, the other 2 both have been seizure and medication free for several years now. (They are both in 7th grade). I wish you the best!

Even though he has already been to see a Neurologist I would see one again. My son is severely disabled and also has Epilepsy. This sounds like seizures that my son had when he was little. Granted I am not a dr, however have they done an EEG or an MRI? Take a look at his eyes when he "spaces out", do they eyes move back and forth or up and down? There are siezures that have eye movement as well as just "spacing out."
Good Luck!
Jenn.......

Could be iron or other vitamin/mineral deficiency. Could be that he's more tired than you realize and doesn't have the energy to stay "tuned in".
Could also be early signs of something like Autism. I'd call your pediatrician and have him checked out. They have a list of things they ask at an 18 month apt. to screen for autism, there's no reason they can't go ahead and go through that now.

Good Luck! :)

I am in no way a medical prof, but I know a man I worked with for several years who had the same thing happen to him. It was a symptom of Epilepsy. Basically, the staring off into space was a seizure. He did not have the violent seizures that people usually associate with epilepsy. This was his seizure.

My boys did that some too and still do occasionally. It would really bother me because I wasn't sure if babies were supposed to stare off into space like adults sometimes do. But they didn't do it enough to want to check into it more. I think it's probably pretty normal - just a way of zoning out maybe when things get a little overwhelming.

I would get him checked out just to make sure, although I can't help but wonder if he may just be getting a little overwhelmed and sort of "taking a break" by just spacing out.

I know that you took him to a neurologist, but it sounds like he may be having 'staring spells'. They are a form of petit seizures. Did the neuro use flashing lights when he was tested? I've had staring spells for years and was only fairly recently diagnosed in my late 20's. Hope you figure it out!

You didn't mention how long this staring lasts. I remember a girl who did the very same thing and they turned out to be very mild seizures. Not that it's the same thing, but i would want to know. When he is like this, can you talk to him and get him to stop right away?

not to scare you but i would check in to a seizure issue.
there are many kinds and that sounds like an absent type seizure. better to be safe than to worry.
there are tests to be done to find this out.
good luck and hope that it is just something else!!

my son stairs to but you want to make sure that when he stares that if you touch him he moves if he does not he might be having petite mal seizures. if you can go up to him and tap him and he acnolages you ( he is noottt) but if he does not acknowlage you he me be. i only say this because my son has grand ma seizures and the dr said something to us. my son will stare but if i tap him he does acknolage me

Gosh, the first thing I thought of when you said that he would be playing and then be staring into space, was my son. Unfortunately he does have mild autism and at that age was when my grandma who watched him would tell me he would do that and she was concerned. I didn't think to much of it at the time. He wasn't diagnosed till age 3 b/c he had met all his milestones up till that point but that is when he started regressing. He used to say some things now he doesn't speak real words at all... He is vocal but its his own "words"
Then again, maybe its nothing. I remember back in school I would "zone out" sometimes and be thinking and would be in my own world... My teacher would be calling me name and I would be completely oblivious to the whole thing..And I got straight A's... I think sometimes my brain was on overload and needed a break

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